Leigh Hunt.

The old court suburb : or Memorials of Kensington regal, critical, & anecdotical (Volume 1) online

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very earnestly into the nature of cocky-leekit. ... He


drank little but iced water ' (Cockburn's ' Life of Jeffrey,'
1852, i. pp. 327-8). Talleyrand died in 1838.


Dr John Wall Callcott (1766-1821) (p. 102) lived at
Kensington Mall, in a house afterwards occupied by his
brother, Sir Augustus Wall Callcott, R.A. (See also p.

Reginald Spofforth (1768-1837) (p. 102) is referred to
again in Chapter IX.

The old Church of St Mary the Virgin (p. 103), which
Hunt describes, and in which Macaulay and Thackeray
succeeded Wilberforce and Addison as worshippers, dis-
appeared in 1869, when a new Gothic building, from the
designs of Sir Gilbert Scott, was erected in its place.

The famous words (p. 107), which Addison is said to
have addressed to young Lord Warwick, and which are
commemorated in the beautiful couplet of Tickell

' He taught us how to live, and (oh, too high
The price of knowledge) taught us to die '

rest upon the authority of Young. Eighteenth-century
report is not as indulgent to Addison's step-son as is
Leigh Hunt, who probably had never read the pamphlets
of Colley Gibber.

'Johannes Jortin (p. 108) mortalis esse desiit, anno
salutis 1770 aetatis 72' is the full text of the epitaph
of the author of the 'Life of Erasmus' (1758-1760), who
was also vicar of Kensington in 1762. Dr Johnson liked
his sermons; but thought his 'Erasmus' dull (Birkbeck
Hill's 'Johnsonian Miscellanies,' 1897, ii. p. 12).



The Reverend Martin Madan (p. 1 1 1) is to-day, perhaps,
best remembered by his connection with William Cowper.
After Cowper's second attack of insanity, Madan's minis-
trations seem to have afforded his unhappy cousin some
temporary relief. But the ' Thelypthora ' came upon
Cowper in his sane moments, and, by ill-fortune, prompted
that ' Anti-Thelypthora,' which even he himself came after-
wards to regard as a mistake. It would have been wiser
if he had halted at the impromptu to which 'Thelyp-
thora ' first gave rise :

' If John marries Mary, and Mary alone,
'Tis a very good match between Mary and John.
Should John wed a score, oh, the claws and the scratches !
It can't be a match 'tis a bundle of matches.'

John Newton, to whom he sent these lines, 'Stern-
holdized' (the word is his own) the thought thus:

' What different senses of that word, A Wife !
It means the comfort or the bane of life,
The happiest state is to be pleased with one,
The next degree is found in having none.'

Leigh Hunt here adds the colour to the particulars given
in the note to Chapter V. of Elphinstone' s dress (p. 114).
It was ' drab.' The good schoolmaster's objection to low
dresses has an odd suggestion of a well-known apostrophe
in Moliere :

' Couvrez ce sein que je ne saurois voir;
Par de pareils objets les Ames sont blesstes!

Tartuffe, Act iii. sc. 2.


Elizabeth Inchbald (p. 116). See note to Chapter VI.

The considerable office (p. 119) to which the East India
Company appointed James Mill, was that of second in the
Examiner's Office, and later on he obtained the superior
post of Chief Examiner of the Indian Correspondence.


Sir John VanbrugKs (p. 126) mother was a daughter
of Sir Dudley Carleton, and not a French woman.
Opinions will always differ as to his work as an
architect; and such couplets as Swift's

' We may expect to see next year
A mouse-trap man chief engineer '

will continue to be quoted. But Van 'never wanted wit,'
as Pope says ; and his plays, upon this ground, cannot
become obsolete. Miss Hoyden and Lord Foppington
(p. 127) are characters in 'The Relapse,' re-fashioned by
Sheridan as 'A Trip to Scarborough.'

William Cobbett (p. 128) lived where now stands the
High Street Station of the Metropolitan and District

Scarsdale House (p. 134) was long in possession of the
Curzon family. Mrs Richmond Ritchie, who lived for a
time at 27 Young Street, has reproduced some of the
details of this ancient mansion in her delightful story
'Old Kensington' (1873).

Dartiquenave (p. 136). The couplet is from Pope's
'First Satire of the Second Book of Horace,' 1. 46; the
other quotation from Rowe's imitation of Horace's ' Ne sit
ancillse' (Bk. ii. 4),' The Lord Griffin to the Earl of
Scarsdale' ('Poems,' 1757, ii. 307).



Sir David Wilkie (p. 139), who, by the way, was not
knighted until 1836, lived at No. 24 Lower Phillimore
Place, which he describes as 'elegant, commodious, and
very well built,' from 1813 to 1824, when his mother died.
She was buried at Kensington ; and in the following year
he went abroad. At No. 24 he painted ' Blind Man's Buff,'
1 Distraining for Rent,' the ' Penny Wedding,' the ' Reading
of the Will,' 'the Chelsea Pensioners,' and the 'Parish
Beadle.' In 1837 he moved to Vicarage Place (p. 144),
at the head of Church Lane ; and this (according to
Wheatley and Cunningham, 1891, ii. p. 327, was known
later as Shaftesbury House (p. 144), that name having been
given to it by a subsequent resident, Serjeant Wilkins, in
honour of his birthplace.

Doctor Thomas Frognall Dibdin (p. 145) was incumbent
of St Mary's, Bryanston Square, a fact which his book-
loving renown has obscured.

Coleridge (p. 154) may have lodged in Edwardes Square ;
and certainly did live at Hammersmith (7 Portland Place)
with his friends the Morgans in 1810 (Dykes Campbell's
'Coleridge,' 1894, p. 180). At No. 32 Edwardes Square,
Leigh Hunt himself lived for eleven years i.e. from 1840
101851. (^INTRODUCTION.)


Lord Holland's couplet (p. 161) is simple and direct ; but
as the late Mr Locker Lampson thought Luttrell's verses


good enough to give entire ('Lyra Elegantiarum,' 1867,
p. 280), his example may be followed here :

' How happily shelter'd is he who reposes
In this haunt of the poet, o'ershadow'd with roses,
While the sun is rejoicing, unclouded, on high,
And summer's full majesty reigns in the sky !

Let me in, and be seated I'll try if, thus placed,
I can catch but one spark of his feeling and taste,
Can steal a sweet note from his musical strain,
Or a ray of his genius to kindle my brain.

Well now I am fairly install'd in the bower,
How lovely the scene ! How propitious the hour 1
The breeze is perfumed by the hawthorn it stirs;
All is beauty around me ; but nothing occurs,
Not a thought, I protest, though I'm here and alone,
Not a line can I hit on, that Rogers would own,
Though my senses are ravish'd, my feelings in tune,
And Holland's my host, and the season is June.

The trial is ended. Nor garden, nor grove,
Though poets amid them may linger or rove,
Nor a seat e'en so hallow'd as this can impart
The fancy and fire that must spring from the heart.
So I rise, since the Muses continue to frown,
No more of a poet than when I sat down ;
While Rogers, on whom they look kindly, can strike
Their lyre, at all times, in all places, alike.'

This inscription was composed in June 1818, and the
title to the Holland couplet gives the exact position of
the summer-house : ' On a Covered Seat in the Flower
Garden at Holland House.'

The open undulating ground (p. 163) is no longer
' terminated by the Uxbridge Road,' as it is now absorbed
by the rows of houses known as ' Holland Park, Netting


Lord Camelford (p. 163). The duel between Lord
Camelford and Captain Best took place in 1804 'on the
site' says Mr Loftie in his 'Kensington' 'of the old
manor-house of West Town, now within the grounds of
Oak Lodge.'

Lady Diana Rich (p. 167). The scene of this ghost
story was the Green Lane, leading to Melbury Road.


The chamber in which Addison died (p. 170), according
to the Princess Marie Liechtenstein (' Holland House,' 1874,
ii. p. 77), was the dining-room on the first floor.

By the same authority (ii. p. 109), it is stated that
the library (p. 171) contains the green cloth-covered
table which Addison had at the Temple, a 'small and
simple' piece of furniture, 'defaced by ink blots.'
Having passed to his daughter, and afterwards to
Lawrence and Rogers, it was finally purchased at
Rogers's sale by Henry Edward, Lord Holland, 5th
May 1856.

Meditating his ' Spectators ' (p. 171). Leigh Hunt seems
to have overlooked the fact that the Spectator and, for the
matter of that, the Freeholder mentioned by Lord Holland
(p. 172), were things of the past when Addison lived at
Holland House, since he married Charlotte, Countess of
Warwick, on 2nd August 1716.

Camoens (p. 173). The Holland copy of the first
edition of 'The Lusiads,' 1572, is more fully described
in 'Holland House,' ii. pp. 176-8. The Spanish inscrip-
tion is as follows : ' Que cosa mas lastimosa que ver un
tan gran ingenio mal logrado yo lo vi morir en un hospital


en Lisboa sin tener una savana con que cubrirse, despues
de aver triunfado en la India Oriental y de aver navegado
5500 leguas por mar y que aviso tan grande paratos que de
noche y de dia se cansan estudiando sin provecho como
lo avana en ordir telas para coger moscas.' The book
belonged to Frere, the translator of Aristophanes, who
gave it to Lord Holland in 1812.

The manuscripts (p. 174) are treated in Chapter XX VI 1 1.
of 'Holland House' (vol. ii. pp. 179-201).

The portrait of Addison (p. 175), which was bought with
the table at Rogers's sale in 1856, is not above suspicion,
as it has been contended that it represents Swift's friend,
Sir Andrew Fountaine (' Holland House,' ii. pp. 116-7).

At the back of the miniature of Robespierre (p. 175),
Charles Fox had written ' un scelerat, un lache et un fou '
(ibid. ii. p. 121).

Hogarth's ' Indian Emperor' (p. 176) was engraved in
1792 by Robert Dodd.

The grand-niece of Sir Isaac Newton, who played
'Alibeck' (p. 176), was little Miss Conduitt (after-
wards Lady Lymington), the daughter of Newton's niece,
Catherine Barton, who married Mr Conduitt of the Mint
in 1717. It was at Mr Conduitt's house that this play
was performed in 1731.


In a former chapter (p. 177). Chapter the First.

The family ever occupied it (p. 177). It is very doubtful
whether they ever did so.

The family came from Holland (p. 179). ' It is probable
that the name is derived from a little town, Ver, on the


river Ver, below Coutances, in Normandy ' (Loftie's ' Ken-
sington,' 1888, p. 43).

The daughter of the last lord (p. 181). Diana de Vere,
second daughter of Aubrey de Vere, twentieth Earl of
Oxford, married Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St Albans.

The Earl's widow (p. 184). Lady Holland died in 1655,
and was buried in Kensington Church on September i.




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Online LibraryLeigh HuntThe old court suburb : or Memorials of Kensington regal, critical, & anecdotical (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 12)